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J Biol Chem. 2013 Jul 5;288(27):19973-85. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.454652. Epub 2013 May 7.

CCN3 protein participates in bone regeneration as an inhibitory factor.

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Section of Oral Pathology, International Research Center for Molecular Science in Tooth and Bone Diseases, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8549, Japan.


CCN3, a member of the CCN protein family, inhibits osteoblast differentiation in vitro. However, the role of CCN3 in bone regeneration has not been well elucidated. In this study, we investigated the role of CCN3 in bone regeneration. We identified the Ccn3 gene by microarray analysis as a highly expressed gene at the early phase of bone regeneration in a mouse bone regeneration model. We confirmed the up-regulation of Ccn3 at the early phase of bone regeneration by RT-PCR, Western blot, and immunofluorescence analyses. Ccn3 transgenic mice, in which Ccn3 expression was driven by 2.3-kb Col1a1 promoter, showed osteopenia compared with wild-type mice, but Ccn3 knock-out mice showed no skeletal changes compared with wild-type mice. We analyzed the bone regeneration process in Ccn3 transgenic mice and Ccn3 knock-out mice by microcomputed tomography and histological analyses. Bone regeneration in Ccn3 knock-out mice was accelerated compared with that in wild-type mice. The mRNA expression levels of osteoblast-related genes (Runx2, Sp7, Col1a1, Alpl, and Bglap) in Ccn3 knock-out mice were up-regulated earlier than those in wild-type mice, as demonstrated by RT-PCR. Bone regeneration in Ccn3 transgenic mice showed no significant changes compared with that in wild-type mice. Phosphorylation of Smad1/5 was highly up-regulated at bone regeneration sites in Ccn3 KO mice compared with wild-type mice. These results indicate that CCN3 is up-regulated in the early phase of bone regeneration and acts as a negative regulator for bone regeneration. This study may contribute to the development of new strategies for bone regeneration therapy.


Bone; Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP); CCN3; Knockout Mice; Osteoblasts; Regeneration; Transgenic Mice

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